You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself. (Rom. 2:1)

THE YOUTH CAMP SPEAKER DELIVERED FIERY JUDGMENT against students who were viewing “perversion” on their smart phones and engaging in “lustful, animal-like fornication.” The entire week was spent condemning anyone who was acting or thinking immorally and especially “reprobate and abominable homosexuals.” About six months later, it was discovered that the pastor who delivered this condemnation had been having sex with an underage girl for over a year.

We see similar hypocrisy in politicians who rail against corrupt colleagues and later are indicted for the very same abuses of power, and in people in the office who condemn coworkers—behind their backs—for gossiping.

In Psychology 101, it’s called projection. People become judgmental against those involved in the very same actions or attitudes they themselves battle. It is an attempt to take the blame off themselves and put it on others. Paul addresses this psychological defense by writing, “you who pass judgment do the same things.”

It’s helpful to take an honest look at ourselves. What is it that we feel especially appalled by or judgmental toward? I am offended by people who discriminate against others based on gender, race, nationality or education. It makes my blood boil. And then the Spirit convicts me that I am extremely prejudiced toward prejudiced people. Ouch!

The things we find most offensive may lurk inside our own souls.

Identify what makes you angry, then search your own heart for it.

James N. Watkins loves God, his family, writing, speaking, and deep-dish pizza—in that order.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.